10 Pages in 10 Days – Waltz in the Wilderness – Day 2

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Chapter 1 – page 4

But miners upstream caught any fish in the creek, and hunting around here was pointless. All the digging, rattling, and mining commotion scared the game away.

     She’d tried to coax Pa to leave their claim long enough to hunt elsewhere to no avail.

     Mama could’ve convinced him.

     Mama isn’t here. Eli straightened her shoulders. “Pa, this is the last—”

     “Hey, Eli!” The familiar voice cut her off.

     She turned in time to see a small rock sail toward her head and managed to duck it, but the move upset her balance. She tipped backward.

     The beans!

     Contorting herself to right her balance without spilling their dinner, she wobbled back and forth as stones rocked beneath her. She shifted her footing, but the sloped face of a large, moss-covered rock hastened her descent. Holding the pan aloft as she fell backward, her body tilted sideways and she overcorrected—

     Sending the beans spilling down her shirt and into the creek.

     For a moment she sat still, the chill of the icy mountain runoff failing to cool her blood as gales of boyish laughter drifted toward her from the bank. She erupted from the creek, wielding her now-empty pan above her head. “Morgan Channing, I’m gonna have your hide for this!”

     She sloshed three full steps to the edge of the creek before she froze.

     The eleven-year-old had stopped laughing and was staring at her, mouth hanging open, eyes wide. “Y-you…! Y-you’re a…a…”

     Eli followed his gaze to her chest, where a few beans still clung to her drenched, oversized shirt. She dropped the pan and covered herself. Oh, how brainless of her! Would Pa send her away?

     “Here now, boy!” Pa jumped to stand between Eli and Morgan. “What’re you doing? Thought you was supposed to be a friend. Did your pa send you over here? You trying to drive us out by starvation?”

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